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WORTH CHECKING OUT

CYCLING: Mountain bike finals for the men and women will be televised, with the men's race airing during the morning telecast and the women's race getting prime-time exposure.

World champion Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands is favored among the men, along with the Italian pair of Luca Bramati and Daniele Pontoni.

Canada's Alison Sydor and the Italian contingent are expected to win, but American Juli Furtado could medal.

WEIGHTLIFTING: For the first time during these Games, weightlifting is scheduled to get prime-time exposure. Why? Super-heavyweight Mark Henry, the 6-foot-3, 410-pound Texan who is America's best hope to medal in this sport.

Yet Henry gained most of his fame in powerlifting, and Olympic weightlifting stresses finesse and strength. Henry is not a sure thing.

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: Complaints about the sports NBC has omitted have been rampant, so why does synchronized swimming get the nod?

It's difficult to say, but one reason may be the fact that the United States has been the top-ranked team since 1991. Gone are the solo and duet categories. It now is limited to team competition. Becky Dyroen-Lancer leads the U.S. team.

BOXING: The United States has seven in the quarterfinals, including medal hopefuls Floyd Mayweather and Antonio Tarver.

It will be interesting to see how much air time the boxers get after U.S. coach Al Mitchell claimed the network was limiting its coverage because the team is made up of blacks and Hispanics.

SOMETHING ELSE: Need a break from the Games? Make it tonight. NBC could have a ratings winner with the U.S. softball team playing for the gold medal, but as of press time it has no plans to televise the game.

Track has an off day, and gymnastics is a gala celebration. Haven't you seen enough of gymnastics? If NBC can tape weightlifting and show it later, can't you?

Catch a movie. I recommend The Nutty Professor.

_ ERNEST HOOPER

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